Football Associations: One more reason FIFA needs independent reform
Earlier this year Reuters reporters in South Asia did an investigation into how cash from FIFA, world football’s governing body, was spent by the football associations in Nepal and Pakistan.
They found half-built facilities and little-used fields even though each of the football associations had been given around US$500,000 specifically for these projects from the Swiss-based organisation that governs world football.
Between 2011 and 2014 FIFA distributed a minimum of US$2.05 million to each of its 209 member football associations (FAs). This included a one-off payment in 2014 of US$1.05 million following the success of the World Cup. During that same period FIFA also gave US$102 million to the six regional football Confederations.
At Transparency International we believe fans have a right to know how the money FAs generate through their interest in football is spent, as does the general public because governments also invest taxpayers’ money in football at the national level. We believe greater transparency lessens the corruption risks.
With this in mind we looked at the websites of football associations to find information on financial accounts, governing statutes, codes of conduct and annual activity reports.
Our new report, Transparency International Football Governance League Table, showed the following:
- 81 per cent of FAs have no financial records publicly available
- 21 per cent of FAs have no websites
- 85 per cent of FAs publish no activity accounts of what they do
Only 14 out of FIFA’s 209 football associations – Canada, Denmark, England, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden – publish the minimum amount of information necessary to let people know what they do, how they spend their money and what values they believe in.
Transparency International is making a series of recommendations to improve how football is governed. These include:
- FIFA should mandate all its members make publicly available the following information as a pre-requisite for membership and financial assistance: audited financial accounts, an annual activities report, code of conduct and organisational statutes.
- The FIFA website should make easily accessible all charters and annual activity and financial reports of associations on its main website.
- The six regional football Confederations should commit to publishing all relevant operational information on their websites, including financial accounts and codes of conduct.
FIFA and its members need to answer the questions swirling around the organisation about how it spends its billions of dollars of revenue. If not it risks tarring the ‘beautiful game’ with a dodgy reputation.
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